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Updated: May 14, 2022 @ 10:21 am
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“We’ve learned so much through the last two-and-a-half years of the pandemic, the COVID pandemic that we’re still experiencing,” said ChristianaCare President and CEO Dr. Janice Nevin Friday. “One of the most important learnings has been the urgent need to embed equity into everything that we do.”
Standing in front of Wilmington’s Southbridge Neighborhood House on May 13, 2022, Nevin was unveiling the the latest efforts by Delaware’s largest healthcare system to address that need for equity.
Two Mobile Health Services vans were announce, one of which present for tours, both of which will travel around Delaware and provide access to healthcare where people need it most, but have the least access. They will be staffed and operated through the next three years thanks to a $1 million investment from Wilmington-based Barclays.
“For 35 years, I’ve been doing population health, public health, and it all starts on the streets,” said Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long. “It matters. Everything happens at the doorstep. Mobile care makes a huge difference.”
The innovation shown through the creation of these two units, which were anticipated to provide service to more than 30,000 patients through their first three years of service, was to be applauded, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer said.
“This mobile health van is very exciting for all of us. In the county, the Neighborhood House I know has been here on the front lines, they see it, they understand it, and it’s a tremendous collaboration that we’re looking for–not only to help here in the Southbridge area…but a model really for our county, our state, and our country,” Meyer said. “You don’t think of a healthcare system like ChristianaCare working with something like Barclays and the Neighborhood House to have vans to address healthcare issues, health inequities, and I cannot salute you enough for your creativity and your execution to make this happen.”
The effort, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said, reminded him that even when things in the world look a little grim, he knows this city is on the right path moving forward.
“You say to yourself, ‘Well, why is there a disparity in health outcomes?’ Because a lot of people never never get healthcare. They just don’t know how to access it. And so this is so marvelous. This is marvelous. Let us come to you,” Purzycki said. “I just think it’s going to open all the doors of possibility for the more disadvantaged among us. People ask me how the city is doing, and I tell him the city is doing remarkably well, in so many ways–particularly physically, but spiritually, it’s going to be improved because of the work of ChristianaCare, Denny Nealon and Barclays.”
For his part, Nealon, Barclays CEO, said funding a project like this and having an impact on the community they themselves call home was just who the company is.
“Barclays community service, or what we call citizenship, as we like to call it, is a really important part of our culture. We’d like to say it’s in our DNA,” he said. “We feel like we have an obligation to be a force for good in the communities where we work and live. And we do think we can play a critical role in creating more inclusive and thriving communities.”
Those investments can help address things that COVID-19 has put under the microscope.
“[The pandemic] shined an even brighter light on the structural inequities that we as a society have allowed to persist for generations. And over the last two years, we’ve seen that people of color are less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to die from COVID-19,” said Nevin. “This was something we were aware of even before the pandemic; we know that a person’s zip code determines quite a bit about their health. Here in Wilmington, there’s up to an 18-year difference in average life expectancy between neighborhoods that are just a mile-and-a-half apart. The reasons for these inequities are complex. But as healthcare professionals, we know how to address complex problems and develop solutions.”
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